On Thursday, 7 March 2019, canopies were erected in front of the Kumawu palace. Chairs were neatly arranged with a few people sitting down and/or hanging around. These were part of the preparations toward the deeply questionable determination by Kumawuhemaa, Nana Abenaa Serwaah Amponsah, to not only revive the defunct puberty ceremony for girls in Kumawuman but also, to celebrate an allegedly fifty young girls into adulthood.
By the tradition and custom of the Ashantis, any girl that undergoes the puberty ceremony is to have witnessed her first ever menstrual period and has never had sexual intercourse with any man hence a virgin. In those days, there was nothing like lesbianism; therefore, my emphasis on the girl partaking in the puberty ceremony not having had any sexual encounter with a man.
The puberty ceremony is called “bragoro” in the Akan parlance.
Having my reservations and expressed same in a publication I placed on the Ghana internet news portal on Thursday, 7 March 2019, nature would also not tolerate the materialisation of the objective of Kumawuhemaa behind the out of the blue puberty announcement and celebration of the girls into adulthood. It rained heavily on that day to disrupt the unceremonious celebration.
As resolutely determined as Nana Abenaa Serwaah Amponsah was to having her way, and achieving her aim and objective in regard to the revival of the decades-old defunct puberty ceremony of young girls and the celebration of the fifty girls into adulthood, she ensured that the celebration did take place the next day.
On Friday, 8 March 2019, the sky was clear of clouds with the Sun shining intensely as it normally does in Ghana in clear weathers. She gathered the nominated young virgins, marched them to the centre of Kumawu township. She obliged them to go round the Kumawu roundabout several times, followed by some elderly or grown up women who could possibly be their parents or otherwise. When she was satisfied with the number of the merry-go-round circles made around the roundabout that harbours the statute of the renowned warrior chief of Kumawu, the saviour of the Asante Kingdom, Barima Tweneboa Kodua I, she allowed them to proceed to the forecourt of the Kumawu palace, where the dubious ceremony was scheduled to take place.
In order not to beat around the bush, but to hit the nail right in the head of the drum, let me ask the following questions to both Kumawuhemaa and the parents who permitted their teenage virgin daughters to partake in that fictitious celebration.
- Accepting the claim by Nana Abenaa Serwaah Amponsah to have undergone puberty ceremony when she was a teenager, was she taken to the centre of the town to circle the roundabout or any such monument? Did she join any other girls of her age group to conduct the ceremony at the same time as done to the girls on 8 March 2019, in Kumawu?
- When performing the ceremony for a young girl(s), does the girl not wear a traditional piece of cloth and beads around her loin with her chest bared and her boobs (breasts) beautifully sticking out? Why was it that in the case of the en masse pubertal ceremony for the alleged fifty teenagers, they were covered in cloth up to, and including, their breasts?
- When a young girl experienced her first ever menstrual period hence an occasion for celebrating her into adulthood through the then accepted and recognised puberty ceremony, was the process not started from her home and by her parents? Did the parents not take her to the riverside to bath her, feed her nice meals, donate to her presents and inform their family members about what has happened to their daughter?
- To the best of my knowledge, and I stand to be corrected, do the parents and the elderly women in the girl’s family, from both the mother’s and father’s side not come together to celebrate the girl, and subsequently give her advice?
- Was the pubertal celebration of a young girl not started as an individual home’s occasion before other close friends and members of the town or village were informed of the situation? Before becoming a public knowledge and a cause for grand celebration, the parents of the girl and their family must have first initiated the procedures in conformity with custom. Once done and in the final day, she was taken before the queen of the town or village to be introduced to. The queen would then give her advice as to how to stay away from the harm’s way, not to go after men but to remain chaste until she got married etc.
- Contrarily, in the case of the recent occasion of pubertal ceremony for teenage girls in Kumawuman, the queen, Nana Abenaa Serwaah Amponsah herself, went seeking for girls to celebrate them? She did so because the Asante “Overlord”, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has requested the reintroduction of our defunct customs and traditions like the “bragoro” (puberty ceremony) to help our children respect the elders and to stay away from unwanted teenage pregnancies. Is it?
- Did the village chief participate in the “bragoro”? Was it not the family and women’s affair? Why was Dr Yaw Sarfo, the self-styled Kumawuhene Barima Sarfo Tweneboa Kodua, found sitting in the celebration of the said fifty teenage girls? Is that the custom for puberty ceremony in Kumawu or Asanteman?
For the information of the public, after the girls had retreated to the forecourt of the Kumawu palace after circling the Kumawu roundabout a number of times, the queen, as crafty and insulting as she usually is, did the following. She said to the girls in the presence of their parents and the spectators, any of you participating girls who has ever slept with a man and does eat from the mashed plantain/cocoyam (“et3”) for this occasion will die.
At the announcement of the warning to the group of the participating girls, they started leaving the forecourt one after the other and in less than no time; all the girls had disappeared into the crowd and out of sight from the forecourt. This means all the girls or most of them, were not virgins as earlier claimed by Kumawuhemaa on air. The entire procedure adopted to celebrate the girls was uncustomary and with a malicious intent.
When an underwater animal emerges from underwater to announce to you the death of the queen of the crocodiles, do you dispute it? You don’t why because he lives under water and knows better what goes on in there than you do. “Se bomokyikyie firi nsuo ase be ka kyere wo se denkyemhemaa awu a, yen ngye no akyingyi”. Therefore, if someone from the Kumawu palace comes to tell me what the queen said leading to the dispersal of the girls, who am I to dispute the person’s assertion?
One thing I know for sure is Kumawuhemaa is a crook, insolent and does not have the welfare of Kumawuman and her citizens at heart. She is selfish and myopic.
To conclude, I am persuaded that she did not intend anything good for the girls but evil. She only wanted them to circle the Kumawu roundabout in line with some directions that might have been given to her by some of her many useless juju men. I have heard about how constantly some rituals are taking place at the Kumawu roundabout in the wee hours of the day by her agents and assigns all for her stupid, malicious and evil intents.
Why are Kumawuman people not taking time to cogitate about the numerous deaths taking place among them? Is it not unusual the great number of deaths taking place in Kumawuman on monthly basis? There is more to it than meets the eye.
Finally, Kumawuhemaa did not donate any sewing machines and presents to the girls as contrarily used to entice the girls to participate in that procedurally uncustomary pubertal exercise. She only fooled them and their parents into believing that as poor as they are, they could end up getting a sewing machine each along with other presents. As poor as they are, they fell for her trickery without pausing a second to question whether or not the queen’s actions and processes were in conformity to accepted practices and usage.
Shame on Kumawuhemaa and her criminal cohorts!
I dedicate this publication to the teaching staff of Kumawu Senior High School and my son Kofi Basoah.
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